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New Messages from our Family in Iraq

Editor's note: recently we have received several messages from Dominicans connected with our Family in Iraq. We share them with you here to give you a greater sense of the real situation in the country. This gives us all the more reason to advocate for peace and security. The Iraq Coordinating Committee continues to call for US military withdrawal. We invite all US Dominicans to respond to the call of the master general to pray together on September 21st for peace in Iraq. (more here)

Fr. Yousif Thomas Mirkis, OP, visited the US last August and spoke in many cities about the situation in Iraq. At that time, he seemed more optimistic and did not believe that civil war was in Iraq's future. More recently, this note, was sent to Roberta Popara, OP (Sinsinawa)

Thank you for your deep words and I am sure all these prayers help us to stay faithful in the grace of the Lord, He will not abandon us to evil and terror. It is really a struggle inside everyone of us every where he can be.

We still survive as Dominican Family in Iraq with less activities but we try to maintain a certain presence to confirm those who are unable to go out of the country to be strong and and have hope in the future, even if this is like a dream now. Corruption is all over the country, the goverment is weak, especially for the services people is suffering, no electricity almost one hour every 5 hours (the heat was this month 49 centigrade). Gangs are doing everything they want -- even in the day.

So dear Roberta keep praying. God bless you

Fr. Yousif Thomas Mirkis o.p.

Sr. Beth Murphy (Springfield) shared this message . Sr. Marie Therese said that the sisters really need our prayer and support at this time.

This morning I spoke at length with Sister Marie Therese, who as you will remember is living in Rome now. She spoke with Sister Maria, the prioress of the Dominicans, in Mosul today. They are asking for our prayer. The situation for Christians in Iraq has taken a turn for the worse this week. This morning a priest was kidnapped in Baghdad and a general threat issued for the Christian leaders -- bishops, priests and religious. The sisters believe that the group or groups making these threats are not Iraqi citizens, but Wahabi, an extremist sect of the Sunni tradition, from other countries. This means that the Iraqi Muslim leadership who have been so helpful to the sisters in Mosul, in particular, are unable to assure their protection at this time. It seems that even Karakosh, home to so many of our Dominican family, is being threatened by the shifting situation in Iraq.

In a similar conversation with the nephew of Bishop Kassab this week, I learned that he, too, is facing increased threats against his life in Basra.

Please pray for peace in Iraq, for the strength and courage of our friends there, and for wisdom for the Christian leadership to know how to respond in the face of these difficulties.

God bless,
Beth Murphy, OP

In an interview with Aid to the Church in Need, Baghdad’s Bishop Andreas Abouna spoke:

"The constitution and the political developments of the past 18 months or so have not helped at all. It is just a theory," he told the German agency Aid to the Church in Need this week. "Everyone is asking: when will the violence stop? They want to rest. They cannot live like this -- everyday there are these terrible things."

"When so many are leaving from a small community like ours, you know that it is dangerous -- dangerous for the future of the Church in Iraq," Abouna said.

Iraqi Christians who took refuge in Syria, Jordan and Turkey and have attempted to return, Abouna said, are generally disheartened by what they've found.

Sadly, Abouna said, many of the Christians who remain are simply too poor or too weak to leave.

"What we are hearing now is the alarm bell for Christianity in Iraq," Abouna said.”




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